July 15, 2020

Is Your County a Hot Spot?

This map (click here) does a nice job of outlining new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. You can see that Maine has fewer than 3 new cases per 100,000 people ... Arizona has more than 45 new cases per 100,000 people.

Back in 2008 I had a free product called "Zip Code Forensics", where I illustrated the zip codes in the United States that were catalog-centric. Popular industry pundits criticized the work ... "in a world of retargeting at a one-to-one level displaying response at a zip code level seems almost moronic."

But you don't do this stuff to target more accurately ... you do this stuff to imagine what the information means. What happens when people in Maine move back indoors in October in a way comparable to what people in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona did in late May when it became too hot for southern folks to be outside? Can you plan ahead for a shift in behavior? Why would New Mexico buck the odds and have half to a fourth of the prevalence of Texas/Arizona? Similarly back in 2008 you asked yourself "why are rural zip codes catalog responsive while suburban zip codes online responsive and urban zip codes retail responsive? What does it mean to in-store sales when suburban zip codes are shifting dramatically to online shopping?

There were two clear facts that Zip Code Forensics demonstrated.
  1. Retail, especially in suburban areas, was in trouble.
  2. Catalog circulation was going to dramatically decrease over time given that only rural areas were highly responsive.
Both facts played out over the course of the next ten years. 

Both facts were easy to see when mapped appropriately.

You map this stuff so that you can imagine what could happen in the future ... the map connects the present with your imagination to yield the future.

You just wonder what facts are hiding in your data, in plain sight, waiting to be discovered?

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